By Hayley Dickson
Diversity, inclusion, equity (our namesake!) are terms that might seem as inescapable (at least to me, as a past SE3 co-chair) in our cultural and political zeitgeist as they are polarizing. There are varying definitions and levels of understanding, and it can be divisive to even bring them up, let alone address any related issues. Why do we care? And if we care, how do we approach such a nuanced and touchy subject? If we can agree on that, what can we as structural engineers even do, in the small subset of the professional world that we occupy?
These are big questions with answers that will undoubtedly change over time as we learn how to live and work better, but we can start with the facts: this does matter. Our 2018 survey revealed that at each ascending position level, we grow less diverse. At the principal level, just 14% of respondents are non-white, and at the entry/staff level this percentage nearly triples. The numbers related to gender show a similar shift, with 16% of principal respondents identifying as female, increasing to nearly half at entry level.
Though the data shows promise of a diverse future, the picture is not entirely rosy. Those with identities outside the majority are significantly more likely to have experienced discrimination and harassment in the workplace. These are not isolated incidents to be dismissed, with numbers as staggering as 50% of women having experienced discrimination at some point in their careers. It’s meaningful to remember that half of the survey respondents are under the age of 35, so conceivably many of these women are facing discrimination early on in their careers.
SAVE THE DATE: A/E/C ROUNDTABLE: Inclusive Practices in Recruiting and Management | February 25, 2020
The SEAONC SE3 Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee is excited announce our upcoming roundtable discussion at AIA in San Francisco on February 25, 2020.
Date | Time: February 25, 2020 | 5:45 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: AIA San Francisco, 130 Sutter St #600, San Francisco, CA 94104
Description: This roundtable discussion will focus on recruitment and management strategies that help attract and support a diverse staff. The panel will consist of firm leaders, HR/recruiting managers, and professionals from structural engineering, architecture, and general contracting firms, who will share their experiences implementing strategies or programs to diversify their staff and improve their workplace culture and retention metrics.
For more information on the registration & panelists: Visit our event page.
Register for the event on the SEAONC Event Page.
Event Coordination Team:
Brenna, Rachel, Maito, Hayley and Tiffany
The National (NCSEA) SE3 committee has achieved quite a bit over the past year. The committee has increased collaboration across multiple SEA member organizations and other AEC organizations, completed over 15 presentations around the US and abroad, and hosted two very successful symposia, with over $40K in corporate sponsorships between the two. Analysis of the 2018 survey data continued, with special efforts in reporting geographic trends, flexibility and childcare, and wage gap at Principal level. In a huge collaborative effort, the 2018 Survey report was published, and can be viewed here.
Moving forward into 2020, in addition to the 2020 NCSEA SE3 survey (development, beta testing, and distribution), we are excited to be transitioning to what we are calling a “CALL TO ACTION”, to encourage all individuals in this profession to move beyond the data by starting conversations and effecting change in their respective organizations. What is your “reimagined workplace” and what do you plan to do to enhance your career, and influence positive changes in your immediate work environment?
See the newly published national SE3 committee website for more information on the committee, events, and publications.
The SEAONC SE3 Committee had a very productive year in 2019. Committee members worked to expand the SE3 network by connecting with professionals and advocates throughout the state, hosted several successful events in the SF Bay area, published a new blog and pay report, and continued to develop new resources that contribute to our mission to advance the profession.
SE3 is pleased to announce that the committee co-chairs for 2019-2020 will be Brenna Marcoux of FTF Engineering and Rachel Cohen of Forell/Elsesser. Brenna has co-led the SE3 mentorship subcommittee and Rachel has co-led the SE3 Outreach and Communications subcommittee for the past year.
Thank you to outgoing co-chairs, Zahraa Saiyed of Scyma Design and Consulting and Hayley Dickson of Forell Elsesser for their exceptional leadership, inspiration and dedicated efforts over the last two years. SE3 has coordinated several very successful events and made a significant impact on the structural engineering and building design community. We are proud to continue to build our network of advocates and ambassadors who are dedicated to the advancement of our profession. We are grateful for the many individuals who have volunteered their time to provide meaningful events and programs for our local area.
We are also pleased to announce new leaders of our various subcommittees. Sara Rahme of Hilti and Steve Earl of Forell Elsesser Engineers will be co-leading the mentorship committee. Hayley Proctor of Wiss Janey Elstner will be joining Maito Okamoto as co-lead of the Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee. Yoshita Manne of Tipping Structural Engineers will be co-leading communications and outreach with Stephanie Borchers of Forell Elsesser Engineers.
The SEAONC SE3 Committee is thrilled to announce that the new video documentary, featuring reflections from collaborators, advocates and thought leaders during the May 2019 SEAONC SE3 Symposium in San Francisco, California has now been published!
The goal of this event was to broaden the discussion of engagement and equity by inviting structural engineers from all over California and outside of the state to participate on aspects of changing our profession for the better. The sold out symposium featured inspirational speakers and thought leaders who left the audience invigorated and committed to advancement of our structural engineering industry.
The 2018-2019 SE3 Committee co-chairs, Zahraa Saiyed and Hayley Dickson, and co-founder Natalie Tse, would like to thank this year's sponsors for their generous donations, support and advocacy of the SE3 Project Mission, and to the dedicated SE3 committee leads and core members and volunteers for their continuous commitment to the advancement of the structural engineering profession.
This video was created by filmmaker, Conor Hagen, based in Northern California, and director at Red Lady Films.
If you have any comments or questions about this event and future collaboration efforts with the SE3 Committee, please email us at email@example.com.
SEAONC SE3 Committee is excited to be collaborating with SEAONC YMF and AIA East Bay to host a fun and engaging event mid-October to celebrate diversity and to work together to improve awareness on equity issues and inclusivity in the building design profession.
SEAONC SE3 OCTOBER WORKSHOP
Building an Inclusive Workplace for ALL in the 21st Century
Thursday, October 17 | 5:30pm-8:00pm
AIA East Bay
This program features a presentation from an expert on change management, employee engagement and “tactical implementation” of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives. Participants will identify and discuss relevant issues through facilitated discussions, and will collaborate on finding solutions. The event concludes with continued conversations and networking. Appetizers and refreshments will be provided.
Attendees will leave this workshop energized, empowered with the tools to augment relationships, influence change in recruiting practices at their firm, to help improve engagement and talent retention in our profession.
Check out SEAONC SE3’s first “Leadership in Action” Blog Post with discussions on engagement and best practices for improving talent retention, with insights and metrics from researchers and our own building design industry leaders.
SE3 has launched this new blog to providing ongoing content surrounding company best practices, highlight important concepts related to the improvement of employee engagement, and encourage the sharing of ideas among members of our industry.
By Stephanie Borchers and Rachel Cohen
On a firm-by-firm basis, understanding how to encourage and maintain employee engagement is central to increasing retention. Employees of all levels contribute to forming a company culture that may or may not encourage engagement.
First, what is engagement? As SEAONC SE3 #ChangeXSE3 Symposium keynote speaker Dr. Zinta Byrne noted in her presentation, engagement is not simply satisfaction or the opposite of burnout. Engagement means finding meaning in one’s work, feeling energized by one’s daily tasks, and motivated to contribute to the success of the firm and to accomplish long-term goals.
Firm leaders and managers play a big role in the engagement of their less experienced employees. According to a report on retention by TINYpulse, employees who are unsatisfied with their supervisors are four times more likely to quit than those who rate their supervisors highly . Leaders can encourage engagement through tangible actions - such as providing bonuses to reward performance, or investing money and resources into training employees - as well through making conscious choices around how they interact with their colleagues.
The SEAONC Structural Engineering, Engagement, and Equity Project (SE3) held its 2019 Symposium on May 10th, 2019 in San Francisco entitled A Changing Workplace: How to Engage, Retain and Secure the Future of our Profession. From the inception of the symposium, the goal of this event was to broaden the discussion of engagement and equity by inviting structural engineers from all over California and outside of the state as well to participate on aspects of changing our profession for the better.
The sold out symposium featured inspirational speakers and thought leaders that left the audience invigorated and committed to advancement of our structural engineering industry. Following our symposium, an overwhelming majority of post-event survey participants stated they were extremely likely to recommend a friend or colleague to attend a future SE3 symposium, rating their overall experience as excellent.
For the organizers, volunteers and sponsors of this event, such statistics fuel our momentum to continue the work of SE3 for and on behalf of our engineering community. To learn more about the sessions and programming of the 2019 SE3 symposium, please go to this link.
The SEAONC SE3 Committee